I’m pretty sure this letter is going to end up with me getting a lot of abuse from a lot of different quarters, and you know what? Quite honestly, I don’t care. It’s taken a long time to mull over and honestly it’s been a long time coming. You’ll always have a place in my heart, but I’m not going to put you on a pedestal like others do, and I’m not going to join in the menagerie of adoring fans that cannot possibly breathe without your attention. To be honest, I’m sick of it all, so excuse me whilst I focus on other things, and move on to pastures new. I love you, and after 21 years, I always will, but I’m not about to hurl myself under the bus and get involved with the crappy little cliques that have evolved around you in recent years.
I remember a time when being your fan meant something. It meant wanting to do something for those less fortunate than ourselves, regardless of how fortunate we are. It meant clubbing together to raise money for charity and sharing experiences. It didn’t mean screaming over social media for you to pay attention as people screamed at you that they were donating or raising money, or wanted you to wish them a happy birthday. I tried last year to thank you for 20 years of inspiration, of knowing that I was more than I was taught I could be, but I was drowned out in the cacophony, and so I gave up.
I’m done with the childish behaviour of your fandom. Of the girls that drink themselves into a stupor and then wonder why they are so hungover the next day, wearing the hangover as a badge of honour, or declaring that they’ll never do it again, only to binge again the weekend after. I’ve seen what harm can come of that. I know that 75% of the cost of alcohol harm use in the USA comes from binge drinking, and that binge drinking can lead to Alcohol Use Disorder. But there’s only a couple of us that are trying to reach out to those people in your fandom who are acting in that way and we get rebuffed. Others tell them that we don’t know what we are talking about and so they listen to them instead.
You have a heart of gold, and you are truly a good soul. I know that. I’ve met you, I’ve spoken to you. Because of you, I’ve met my sister, and some of the most wonderful people in my life. But your fandom turns in on itself quicker than anyone would care to admit. It’s washed over quickly so that you don’t hear it or see it. But it happens. And perhaps the scariest thing is that some of the people doing it are the people who should be setting the best of examples.
There are still some amazing people in your fandom, the sad fact is, that they are often drowned out by the louder ones who clearly don’t give a damn about your reputation or the reputation of the others in your fandom.